The 7 Phases of a Single Woman’s “Job Search Pain Cycle”

By Vicki Brackett

We single women are brutally honest with ourselves, and when asked, we admit we don’t want to look for a new job. We ARE tired; we DO deserve a break. However there is this small voice inside, playing the same tape, reciting all our fears, over and over again. When we are single, we can feel very alone, which only escalates our fears and doubts.  It becomes paralyzing as we sit at home enjoying our well-deserved break. We take the time to think. But too much thinking leads to the next phase.

Phase 5 – Pure, heart gripping Fear. It can hit the very core of a single woman in this situation. “What if I lose my home?” “What if my children have to do with less?” “Will I lose everything?” “What if I can’t afford to send the kids to college?” Then the feeling takes hold…“I am letting myself and my family down.” “What was I thinking? I can’t even take care of myself!”  And then the proverbial, “What’s the matter with me?”

Because single women are self supporting and sometimes do not have the same support systems as other women, it can literally immobilize us to the point where we cannot even breathe. The sleepless nights are the worst, when all the little voices run around in our heads and there is no one to talk with to help us pull out of the fear.

Phase 6 – Wallowing stage. Women, in general, “wallow” in different ways. You know your own “wallow ways.”  How long does this phase last? It depends on how much pressure there is financially or with family and personal relationships. What we are actually doing during this phase is establishing our own “pain threshold.” How much pain can we bear?

Phase 7 – Liberation. We decide we have had enough. It can happen in an instant. We could be standing in front of the frig or just opening our eyes from sleep and that flash of brilliance hits us. We wake up, stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and figure our way out.

We take back our power.

When a woman reaches this phase…watch out!

The bottom line is this: If single women KNEW what to do when our job was in jeopardy, if we KNEW help was out there for us, would we take action sooner? I’m betting we would.

Vicki Brackett is president and CEO of Make It Happen for Women, a division of Make It Happen Consulting that provides personalized career services for women,


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